Car Seat Safety Check

Car Seat Safety CheckOf all the things on my “to do” list before I gave birth, I never thought to get a car seat safety inspection. In truth, it wasn’t until after the baby was born that I thought about checking to make sure the seat was properly installed. But there is never a dull moment when you are a new mom. Thus days turned into weeks, which turned into months, and before I knew it, our son was 20 months old and in a convertible car seat.

Then I heard about National Car Seat Check Day on September 22nd, the culmination of National Car Seat Safety Week. There were checks held all over the U.S. that day, and luckily one wasn’t too far from us. It was sponsored by Kohl’s Cares and held in the Kohl’s parking lot.

Car Seat Safety CheckWe were directed to an inspection line where we met Manny, a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST), who proceeded to inspect our car and our convertible car seat. That’s when we were given the shocking news – we had several things wrong with our car seat set up:

  • {#1} –  Right away, Manny called our attention to our roller window shade. It is not recommended to use shades that suction to your window, as they may come loose and fall or the child may be able to reach it and pull it on top of themselves, causing injury. Manny suggested using a cling sunshade that adheres to the window itself, but which can also be easily removed. [Note: We’ve tried this, but our rear windows come standard with a factory tint to them. With this cling shade also on the window, I found it too dark to see out of, limiting my blind spot field of vision. You should also check with local officials to see if using this type of shade will create a traffic violation for overly tinted windows. Here’s a link for Massachusetts law on tinted windows.]
  • {#2}  – We had purchased a vinyl seat cover and placed it under the car seat. We thought the cover would help guard the cloth seats against spills and the pockets that were built in served as perfect toy storage. Unfortunately, Manny showed us that without much effort, he could slide the car seat about an inch simply because it was less secure on such a slick surface. Needless to say, that came off right away!
  • {#3} – Headrest mirror. Manny advised against using a headrest mirror, as it might come loose and fall on our son, or break in an accident.
  • {#4} – We had installed our car seat using the seat belt and the LATCH seat anchor. Manny let us know that in this instance, two safety measures are not better than one, and only one or the other should be used to secure the car seat.

Manny uninstalled our car seat and walked us through the proper installation, making sure it was nice and secure before we left. He also advised us on how to install the car seat forward facing, since we’ll be making that switch in a few short months, and let us know about some of the regulation changes that are coming for 2013. Then the certified instructors watched us secure Gavin in the seat, making sure we knew how to position him well and how to secure his harness strap. We were also given a few reference materials on the proper installation of all types of car seats.

After our seat was check we felt much more secure in travelling with Gavin. But we didn’t high-tail it out of there. We stopped and visited the other vendors at the event, Safe Kids Rhode Island, Injury Prevention Center at Rhode Island Hospital, New York Life (offering Child ID kits), Kohl’s (of course) and a local radio station and day care center. Safe Kids was handing out snacks and juice boxes for kids and even had a few games for them to play. And Kohl’s was giving away Eric Carle books and stuffed animals. There was even Dunkin Donuts coffee and snacks for the parents to enjoy!

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About Kaitlyn

I'm Gavin's Mama. I'm trying to master motherhood one baby step at a time...Gavin leads, I follow!

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